Thursday, July 31, 2008

Indian Spiced Iced Tea

This exotic icy beverage is a wonderful way to cool off during the dog days of summer. Many people are familiar with Indian or Thai "chai" drinks, which are creamy tea drinks often spiced with cinnamon and/or cardamom. This version of chai, however, is an iced "masala chai", or spicy (as in zesty, not fiery) tea, using lemon and no dairy. The fresher the spices you use, and the longer the steeping time, the more intense the flavors. The recipe easily multiplies - this version makes 2 to 4 servings, depending on the size of your glass.

2 1/2 cups cold water
2 tsp loose orange pekoe tea leaves
4 whole cloves
4 green cardamom pods
1 inch cinnamon stick
Sugar, to taste (I like to use 1 Tbs)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste (I like to use the juice of half a lemon)
Crushed ice

Open the cardamom pods, remove the seeds and crush them (I use a mortar & pestle, but you can also use a spice mill), and discard the pods. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Put the tea leaves, spices and sugar in a teapot (glass or ceramic works best), pour in the boiling water, cover and allow to steep for 4 to 5 minutes, or longer if desired. Stir well, strain, and add the remaining cold water. Allow to cool. Place crushed ice into 2 to 4 glasses. Stir the cooled tea and pour into the glasses, adding fresh lemon juice to taste.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Uncle Pete's BBQ Burgers

This tasty recipe comes from the creators of the award-winning Uncle Pete's BBQ Sauces, made in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The result is juicy, zesty burgers that will leave friends and family smiling and asking for seconds! Makes 8 burgers.

2 lbs lean ground beef
2 Tbs minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bottle of your favorite flavor of Uncle Pete's BBQ Sauce (Original, Hickory, or Spicy)

Fire up your grill. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients well using a spoon (or do what I do and use your hands). Shape mixture into 8 patties, each about 1 inch thick. Grill the burgers until done, and serve with your favorite toppings.

Zestfully yours,

PS: This is just one of several easy, yummy recipes you'll get when you order any flavor of Uncle Pete's BBQ Sauce from the Carolina Sauce Company!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Char Crust Sun-Dried Tomato & Garlic, In Stock!

Newsflash: After a very long absence, Char Crust Sun-Dried Tomato & Garlic Seasoning is FINALLY back in stock! This gourmet spice blend is inspired by the cuisine of Tuscany, and just might be my very favorite flavor of Char Crust Seasonings & Dry Rubs. The flavors are luscious, and the vibrant aromas enticing: sun-dried tomatoes, fire-roasted garlic, fragrant rosemary, and just a touch of citrusy lemon, all masterfully blended with a kiss of pepper to perk up the palate. Rub this seasoning on all kinds of meat and poultry prior to grilling, broiling, roasting or searing, and it's especially delicious on fish. Like the rest of Char Crust's seasonings, Char Crust Sun-Dried Tomato & Garlic Seasoning is made in small batches using only the finest ingredients, and it's also Kosher.

Stay tuned for more Char Crust news, as we've received a brand new flavor which we'll soon be adding to our online store. In the meantime, all 8 flavors of Char Crust Seasonings are currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company.

Zestfully yours

Monday, July 28, 2008

Healthier Crab Quiche

This recipe is an old favorite of mine that I originally received from a classmate, and then I modified it to reduce some of the fat and calories. When I'm in the mood to spice things up, I splash my slice of this crab quiche with several dashes of Crabanero Hot Sauce, made with Old Bay Seasoning.

1 unbaked pie crust (Pillsbury brand works well)
Egg substitute equivalent to 4 eggs (I use Egg Beaters brand)
1/2 cup whipping cream (you can substitute half of this with Half & Half)
1 can reduced fat Cream of Mushroom Soup or reduced fat Cream of Celery Soup
1 cup grated lower fat cheese (Gruyere or Cheddar or other cheese of your choice)
Approx 1 cup steamed or microwaved chopped veggies of your choice, drained (good choices are sweet or bell peppers, onion, broccoli, baby spinach)
Approx 1 cup cooked crabmeat or crabmeat substitute
Nutmeg or Mace to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the egg substitute, whipping cream and soup with an electric mixer until you see lots of bubbles. Place the pie crust in a quiche dish or pie plate, then sprinkle the cheese in an even layer, followed by the crabmeat and then the veggies. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies and then sprinkle with nutmeg or mace. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hr to 1 1/4 hrs, until quiche has set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (the top will be golden brown). Depending on your oven, you may need to adjust the temperature down to 350 degrees or up to 400 or even 425 degrees.

Variation: For a change of pace, you can substitute Cream of Tomato Soup instead of the mushroom or celery soup, and then sprinkle the quiche with Tarragon instead of nutmeg or mace. When I make the quiche with tomato soup, my hot sauce of choice is either Blues Habanero Reserve Hot Sauce, made with Red Savina habaneros in a tomato-lemon-vinegar base, or Samson's Sauce, an old-fashioned pepper sauce with a tangy vinegar-tomato base.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Katie's Spinach Salad

This old-fashioned spinach salad recipe comes from an old family friend. The amount of each of the 6 salad ingredients is fairly flexible so feel free to adjust to your tastes and needs.

1 bag washed baby spinach leaves
2 to 4 slices of bacon, crisp-cooked
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 or 2 handfuls of fresh bean sprouts

1/4 cup vinegar (you can use cider or rice vinegar for a milder flavor)
1 cup salad oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup catsup
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp onion juice
1 tsp salt (optional)

Combine the 6 salad ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss and serve immediately.

Note: No time to make your own dressing? The Carolina Sauce Company has lots of deliciously flavorful salad dressings to choose from, many of which aren't available in stores! My favorite for spinach salad is Blue Tick Dressing.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, July 25, 2008

Capone Family Secret Giardiniera

One of my favorite tasks here at Carolina Sauce Company is tasting, testing and evaluating potential new products for our online specialty foods store. Most of the samples I try are at least edible (although there have been some memorably awful experiences, and needless to say those are NOT part of our store!), and quite a few samples are pretty good. Once in a while, however, I'll taste something that makes me sit up and take notice, and sometimes even makes me grin ear to ear and declare, "We have a winner!" Capone Family Secret Giardiniera falls into that latter category, and the Hot Giardiniera in particular blew me away, bursting with zesty flavors and packing serious heat.

Made by the same Chicago company since 1909 and brought to us by a descendant of the infamous Al Capone, Capone Family Secret Giardiniera is the real deal, just like you'll find at authentic Italian delis in Chicago and New York. Made with all-natural ingredients and Italian seasonings, the Hot Giardiniera uses a variety of hot peppers and traditional vegetables to deliver peppery firepower balanced with old world flavor. The Mild Giardiniera features select bell peppers instead of hot peppers, making it the ideal choice for more sensitive palates that appreciate robust flavors but prefer to avoid heat.

Traditionally spread on cold cut sandwiches as well as Italian sausage, meatball, and beef sandwiches, giardiniera is also delicious on burgers, hot dogs and other meats, on eggs, pizza and in omelets (drain the giardiniera first), and tossed in salads of the green and the pasta varieties. I like to snack on crackers topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a forkful of giardiniera, and it also goes nicely on crostini spread with goat cheese. Another tasty treat is sliced hard salami or soppresata with a forkful of giardiniera. With its big chunks of vegetables and zesty marinade, this giardiniera often finds its way into my green salads as a substitute for salad dressing - I just add some freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice and toss everything together, including a splash of additional marinade from the jar, and sometimes also some anchovy fillets for a little protein. Both varieties of Capone Family Secret Giardiniera got unanimous rave reviews during our tasting earlier this month, and are currently on sale and come with a free recipe for Giardiniera Pizza.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Walkerswood Shortages.... Again

Newsflash: Tropical storm and hurricane season is upon us, and that means the good folks at Walkerswood in Jamaica are once again experiencing production problems, unfortunately. Both of our main suppliers of Walkerswood Jamaican jerk sauces & seasonings have informed us that they're running very low on inventory, and are already sold out and back-ordered on some Walkerswood varieties, including their Jonkanoo Pepper Sauce (which we're currently sold out of as well), and their Scotch Bonnet Sauce. At a customer's request, I inquired about the Scotch Bonnet sauce to see if we could at it to the Carolina Sauce Company online store, but neither of our suppliers has been able to get it from Walkerswood in several months. The good news is that we still have the Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Marinade in stock, as well as the Walkerswood Authentic Jamaican Jerk Seasoning in 10 oz jars and the Walkerswood Hot & Spicy Jamaican Jerk Sauce, and we'll continue stocking those products for as long as we can keep getting our hands on them. All three are also on sale, but only so long as we can afford to offer them at such great prices.

In the meantime, if you're looking for an alternative scotch bonnet pepper sauce, I recommend the following, both of which are currently in stock:

*Dave's Gourmet Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce, made with a touch of peaches and sugar to temper the fiery heat of the scotch bonnet peppers

*Kato's Down South Hot Sauce, a favorite of purists since it has only 3 ingredients: scotch bonnet peppers, carrots & vinegar

And if you're looking to expand your horizons in terms of Jamaican jerk products and other Caribbean sauces, seasonings and spices, I highly recommend Pluto's Organic Jamaican Sauces and Pluto's Caribbean Bliss Seasonings. Or check out our entire selection of jerks and curry products.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Southern Twang Grilled Shrimp

This incredibly simple - and incredibly delicious - recipe comes from the creators of Southern Twang Dry Rub. This award-winning seasoning blend gives the shrimp a mouthwatering flavor that's slightly sweet and slightly spicy, with a citrusy twang. You'll get a flyer with this and other tasty recipes when you order Southern Twang Dry Rub from the Carolina Sauce Company.

2 lbs jumbo shrimp, raw & peeled
6 Tbs Southern Twang Dry Rub
6 Tbs olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a zip top plastic bag, close bag and shake until shrimp is coated. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours. Remove shrimp from bag, discard leftover marinade, and grill the shrimp until done (5 to 10 minutes per side). Be sure not to overcook, as shrimp cooks very quickly.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Firehouse Nuts

Firehouse Nuts are the latest hot & spicy new product to arrive at the Carolina Sauce Company, and boy, are they good! These habanero seasoned peanuts come from The Peanut Roaster in Henderson, NC, who starts with premium crunchy-roasted peanuts and then dusts them with powdered smoked habaneros and other fiery spices. Full of bold flavor and peppery fire, Firehouse Nuts start off at about a medium level of heat and then build up to a nice hot level that's fiery enough to please hot pepper fans but without burning out your tongue or ruining your ability to taste the other flavors in the seasoning (or any other things you may be eating). There's just enough saltiness to enhance the flavors, and a nice balanced spiciness without "smoky" flavor to get in the way (I'm guessing the habaneros are smoked simply to dry them in order to then grind them into a powder). The can is decorated with a firefighting theme, including a couple of fire trucks about to respond to a call, making these Firehouse Nuts a tasty treat to give to your favorite firefighter. Better yet, assemble a stationhouse gift basket or care package that includes other zesty snacks and perhaps some hot sauce and barbecue sauce, to say thank you to your local emergency response personnel.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ann's Durn Good Buffalo Shrimp Grill

This delicious and easy recipe comes from the folks who make the Durn Good product line, available at the Carolina Sauce Company, and serves 4.

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
4 Tbs butter
4 Tbs Durn Good Hot Sauce
Durn Good Original Blend Seasoning, to taste

Melt butter in a pan, add hot sauce and stir to combine. Let cool a bit. Place the shrimp in a zip top plastic bag, add butter/hot sauce mixture, seal the bag and shake to coat the shrimp. Heat your grill, griddle or saucepan to medium high. Place the shrimp on the grill (or griddle or pan), sprinkle generously with the Durn Good Original Seasoning, and cook until done (the shrimp will turn pink), being careful not to overcook. That's it!

I like to serve Buffalo Shrimp (or chicken) with a side of blue cheese dressing (or ranch dressing), and some celery and carrot sticks on the side.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Durn Good Hot Sauce and all four varieties of Durn Good Seasonings are currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Uncle Brutha's Fire Sauce No. 10

Nationally recognized for its "superior flavor and balanced heat,", Uncle Brutha's Gourmet Hot Sauce Fire Sauce No. 10 is a sensory masterpiece for those who enjoy thick-textured, robust, flavor-packed and fiery hot sauces. This seriously hot hot sauce tastes, smells, looks and feels like a winner, and its multiple Scovies and other national awards (including at least one Golden Chile from the Fiery Foods Challenge at Zest Fest) are justly deserved. The aroma is rich and enticing, with more than a mere suggestion of the potent fire in the blend of chiles (habaneros, red & green jalapenos, & serranos) and garlic that provide different layers of earthy, vegetal, pleasantly pungent and peppery-sharp flavors. The color is a dark brick-red, and little bits of minced peppers are clearly visible, providing a thick, tongue-pleasing texture to this full-bodied hot sauce. In sum, this truly is a gourmet hot sauce for foodies AND a seriously hot hot sauce for veteran chileheads.

Because of its robust flavors and intense heat, I like to use Uncle Brutha's Fire Sauce No. 10 on hearty foods like grilled or broiled meats (beef, pork and game all take well to this sauce), and I mix it into ketchup for use on hamburgers, veggie burgers and meatloaf. This hot sauce also complements tomato-sauced dishes like Italian foods, and is quite good when added to chili and rustic stews (I'm actually looking forward to cold weather so I can play with this sauce in some of my comfort-food recipes). It's also great when splashed on cheese nachos, breakfast burritos and sausage. I think I'll stir it into cocktail sauce the next time I have chilled boiled shrimp. And if you count carbs or prefer all-natural sauces, you'll be glad to know that Uncle Brutha's Gourmet Hot Sauces are low carb, fat free, and all natural. Uncle Brutha's Fire Sauce No. 10 is currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Uncle Brutha's Fire Sauce No. 9

I've always been partial towards thick (not runny-vinegary) hot sauces with textured mouthfeel (i.e., little bits of peppers and other vegetables, course-ground spices, etc.), and hot sauces that deliver layers of interesting flavors in addition to fiery heat. If that's your preference as well, and if you enjoy salsa verde (green salsa), then you must try Uncle Brutha's Gourmet Hot Sauce Fire Sauce No. 9. This delicious and fiery-hot hot sauce truly deserves the "gourmet" in its name, as it's handcrafted in small batches using only the freshest whole ingredients of the highest quality. The heat and astringent pepper flavor comes from serrano chiles, which are the primary ingredient and which have a more complex flavor, in my opinion, than the more common jalapeno and habanero peppers typically used in hot sauces. The serranos are blended with garlic, fresh ginger, cilantro and green onion for a tantalizing taste that's not quite Southwestern and not quite Asian, but rather a masterful fusion of both, making this hot sauce ideal for either style of cuisine. But don't limit yourself to the obvious ethnic dishes: Uncle Brutha's Fire Sauce No. 9 is fabulous on fish and seafood (try it on crab cakes, fish tacos, and fried or broiled seafood), and adds gourmet flavor and fire to roasted or grilled chicken. I lift the skin up from raw chicken to pour some of the sauce under the skin onto the chicken flesh, then pull the skin back in place and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for a few hours before cooking. I also like Uncle Brutha's Gourmet Hot Sauce on veggie burgers, in stir-fry dishes, and splashed on cheesy dishes like chiles rellenos, quesadillas, seafood or veggie enchiladas, and quiche.

Uncle Brutha's Fire Sauce No. 9 has won numerous awards at national and international competitions throughout the years, including at least 2 prestigious Golden Chile awards from the Fiery Foods Challenge at Zest Fest, and several Scovie awards. If you're health-conscious, you'll be glad to know that Uncle Brutha's Gourmet Hot Sauces are low carb, low sodium, all-natural, and fat free. It is a rare hot sauce that will please gourmands with refined palates as well as experienced chileheads who want serious heat in their hot sauce. You can get Uncle Brutha's Fire Sauce No. 9 on sale now from the Carolina Sauce Company.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wells Hog Heaven Back In Stock!

Newsflash: After a brief hiatus, Wells Hog Heaven Barbecue Sauce (with the black label in the photo) is back in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company. This authentic eastern NC vinegar based BBQ sauce is one of our all-time top 5 best selling products, and we try to have plenty in stock all the time, but sometimes our scheduled deliveries get pushed back a week (which is what happened this time) and we temporarily sell out. Thankfully we now have plenty again, and have fulfilled all our customer back-orders, so feel free to re-stock -- or to try this tangy, spicy taste sensation if you've never tried real vinegar based NC barbecue sauce. It's perfect for pulled pork BBQ, marinating, and dipping, and also seasons collards and turnip greens. Heck, I splash it on hush puppies and fries, too! And for folks who prefer tomatoes in their barbeque sauce, there's Wells All Purpose Ribs & Chicken Sauce. Both Wells BBQ sauces are made outside of Wilmington, NC, in the tiny town of Burgaw.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Durn Good Southwest Flavor Seasoning

Durn Good Southwest Flavor Seasoning is billed as "El Sabor Del Fuego", or "The Flavor of Fire." Now I've never literally tasted fire, but if it tastes as good as this spice blend, then it might just be worth lighting up my tongue (just kidding, of course - please don't try it!). All kidding aside, Durn Good Southwest Seasoning might be made in North Carolina, but it delivers real Tex-Mex flavor and heat to beef, chicken, pork and fish. I first tried this spicy seasoning as a substitute for taco seasoning in ground beef, and it was delicious, without the excess saltiness that's often the problem with store-brand taco seasonings. It's also a tasty alternative to chili powder -- try sprinkling some on nachos, or add it to fajitas, quesadillas, chili, and pretty much any bean dish. The makers of Durn Good seasonings claim it's also terrific on rattlesnake, but I can't personally vouch for that (no rattlers prowling around my house, thank goodness!) However, I have had Durn Good Southwest Flavor Seasoning in venison burgers, and that was a real winner. Order a bottle or more now, while it's on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Red's Coke Can Chicken

Unless you're from the South, this recipe -- which features white barbeque sauce, typically found in Alabama -- might seem a little weird. But trust me, it's quite good! Red's Coke Can Chicken is just one of several free recipes you'll get when you purchase a bottle of Red's White Sauce from the Carolina Sauce Company.

One 4 to 5 lb roasting chicekn
One bottle of Red's White Sauce, and another bottle to use for basting (you won't use the entire 2nd bottle)
One 12 oz can of your favorite cola

Place the chicken in a large zip top plastic bag and pour in one bottle of Red's White Sauce. Zip the bag and shake to completely coat the chicken with the sauce. Marinate overnight in your refrigerator.

Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Preheat your grill to medium/low heat. Open the can of cola, place it on a grill-safe pan, and carefully place the chicken over the can from the bottom cavity of the bird, so that chicken is standing up. Place pan with chicken on your grill, and close the grill to cook. Every 20 minutes or so, open the grill and baste the chicken with more white sauce from the second bottle. The chicken is done when juices run clear when pierced.

Carefully remove the chicken from grill, discard the cola can, and serve the chicken with extra Red's White Sauce on the side for dipping.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Little Boy's BBQ Sauces Back In Stock

Newsflash: I'm pleased to announce that both flavors of Little Boy's BBQ Sauce are back in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company! Made in the town of Wilson in the eastern part of NC from old family recipes, Little Boy's BBQ Sauces are hard to find even within North Carolina, usually only in little gift shops, country markets and specialty or gourmet stores. Luckily you can now get them online again from Carolina Sauce, regardless of where you live.

For folks who like eastern NC style, vinegar based BBQ sauces with lots of spice and tang, there's Little Boy's Chicken Splash BBQ Sauce, which is perfect for marinating and grilling chicken as well as for splashing on pulled pork barbeque and other meats. It also adds a nice zip to collard greens and other southern style veggies. If your preference is for a thick, sweet tomato based barbeque sauce to slather on ribs and for basting, dipping and finishing anything you grill, then Little Boy's Thick & Tasty BBQ Sauce is the one for you -- and it has NO smoke flavoring added to it, in case you prefer to get your smoky flavors the natural way (cooking on a smoker). Both flavors of Little Boy's BBQ Sauce are currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company online store.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you're wondering where your Wells Hog Heaven Barbecue Sauce is, don't worry: our supplier is scheduled to (finally) deliver our back-ordered inventory sometime this week. Thank you for your patience!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Durn Good Island Spice Flavor Seasoning

Durn Good Island Spice Flavor Seasoning is the third in a series of four spice blend seasonings from D.J. Hoch's Durn Good, located in picturesque Wake Forest, NC. This Caribbean inspired dry rub and seasoning is pleasantly peppery, with layers of ginger, curry, allspice and other tropical herbs and spices. While Durn Good Island Spice Seasoning does have some similar flavors to Jamaican jerk spices, this seasoning is not a Jamaican jerk but rather a Caribbean style seasoning with tantalizing flavors that can enhance your homemade jerk recipes. I like to add Durn Good Island Spice Flavor Seasoning to boiling water when I make rice, and it's also excellent sprinkled on roasted or boiled potatoes as well as on steamed or sauteed vegetables. But the island flavors and fire really shine when you use this seasoning on poultry and seafood (especially on the grill), and it's also quite good on beef and pork. According to its creator, it's also yummy on wild hog -- but I personally haven't had a chance to try that one out yet! Durn Good Island Spice Flavor Seasoning is currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, July 13, 2008

NC Gourmet Gift Set: New Lower Price!

Newsflash: The Carolina Sauce Company has lowered the price of its ever-popular NC Deluxe Gourmet Gift Set, which features a selection of deliciously full-flavored gourmet sauces, snacks and condiments made in North Carolina. Now priced at only $45.00, this gift set includes:

*A jar of Santo and Josie Pasta Sauce, a thick, intensely rich tomato based spaghetti sauce made from an old Sicilian family recipe. Santo & Josie Pasta Sauce comes in 3 gourmet flavors (Tomato Eggplant, Tomato Artichoke, or Tomato Olive), and you choose which flavor you want in the gift set.

*Mama T's Olive Oil Vinaigrette, a classic herb-infused oil & vinegar dressing and marinade that's handmade in small batches on the North Carolina Outer Banks

*The Carolina Sauce Company's very own Greg's Happy Sauce, a tantalizingly zesty, award-winning marinade, grilling and all-purpose cooking sauce that comes with a recipe brochure and "Grilling Tips" flyer full of creative ideas

*A 4-pack of the unique Toad Sweat Dessert Sauces, which are spicy-sweet fruit based hot sauces that are wonderful on cheesecake, ice cream, and even on poultry and seafood

*A can of Maxwell's Extraordinary Jalapeno Peanuts, a crunchy, tasty snack that's slightly sweet & salty, a little bit spicy, and addictive

*A bottle of Not Cool Garden Fresh Habanero Pepper Sauce, a thick, rich, garlicky, and 100% organic sauce with just the right amount of habaneros for a mild heat

*The wildly popular Capsicana Zing Gourmet Sauce, a versatile table sauce that's tangy, sweet and spicy rather than hot

*The exotic Pluto's Caribbean Bliss Mild Spice Blend, made by a Jamaican ex-pat using aromatic herbs and Caribbean spices for authentic island flavor

If purchased separately, the products in the NC Gourmet Gift Set would cost almost $47, but as a gift set you can get them all for only $45!

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Durn Good Cajun Spice Blend Seasoning

If you enjoy making Creole and Cajun dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish and alligator tail, then you need Durn Good Cajun Spice Blend Seasoning in your kitchen. And if you've never tried making Cajun or Creole dishes but you enjoy seafood chowders, grilled fish or shrimp, and grilled meats, poultry or wild game, then Durn Good Cajun Spice Blend is also for you. In addition to traditional Louisiana spices and herbs, Durn Good adds its signature secret spice blend to create an all-purpose seasoning that delivers festively spicy flavors when used at the table or in recipes. Even though it's made in North Carolina, Durn Good Cajun Spice Seasoning captures the essence of Louisiana cuisine for real Bayou flavor. Tempted to try it? Get it now while it's on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company!

Zestfully yours,

Friday, July 11, 2008

Durn Good Original Blend Seasoning

D.J. Hoch's Durn Good product line from Wake Forest, North Carolina, is aptly named, as all their products are, indeed, darn good. The original Durn Good Seasoning Blend is the founding product, developed in the mid-1980s by an avid hunter who was looking for a peppery, flavor-packed spice blend for use on wild game. But Durn Good Original Seasoning Blend is delicious on more than just venison, wild hog, and other game. With its secret combination of herbs and spices, Durn Good Original Seasoning adds authentic southern-style spicy flavor to anything you grill, including beef, poultry, and pork. Sprinkle it on pizza, salad and veggies to perk them up, or stir it into soups, stews and even bloody marys. Once you taste Durn Good Original Seasoning Blend, you'll understand why it's used in many North Carolina restaurants and home kitchens. Get some today, while it's on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company!

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Spicy Mango & Cilantro Grilled Fish

This mouthwatering summertime recipe is one of 3 recipes on the label of Wahoo Willie's Mango Vinaigrette, from Wahoo Willie's seafood restaurant in Wrightsville Beach, NC. If you are on a low sodium diet, this recipe is for you, as it has no sodium (and trust me, you won't miss the salt!) You can also make this recipe in your oven.

4 8oz pieces of fresh grouper, tuna, or mahi-mahi
1/2 cup Wahoo Willie's Mango Vinaigrette
1/2 tsp granulated garlic (use the real thing, not garlic salt)
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp diced serrano or jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place all ingredients EXCEPT the fish in a blender and puree to make a marinade. Place the fish in a resealable plastic bag, pour marinade over the fish and refrigerate for 1 or 2 hours. Grill, broil or bake until the interior temperature of the fish reaches 145 degrees, basting with more marinade (cooking time will vary with thickness of fish and cooking method - be careful not to overcook). Makes 4 servings.

**Gloria's tip: I like to sprinkle some fresh diced mango on top when I serve the fish, for tropical flair and to offset the hot pepper

Zestfully yours

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Problems Ordering Online? Check Your Phone Number

Recently we've had a few customers call us to report a problem when trying to place an order online at the Carolina Sauce Company store. They reported that when they had finished entering their shipping info and clicked on "next", they ended up right back on the shipping screen all over again. The first time this happened, I couldn't figure out why the customer was experiencing this problem, so I offered to take their order over the phone. I filled out their name and shipping address, and then asked them for their phone number. Bingo! That was it! The customer had not entered a phone number when trying to place the order himself online.

When the phone number is missing, the online order form reverts back to the shipping page and places a (tiny) red star with a (tiny) note asking for a phone number. The customer hadn't noticed the red star or the text (did I mention they're tiny?) The customer then asked why he needed to provide a phone number, and I explained that UPS needs a number to call in case there's a problem delivering the package. That is the ONLY reason the online order form asks for a phone number, in case UPS or the Carolina Sauce Company needs to contact a customer to verify an address or handle a shipping problem.

The next time a customer called to report the same online order problem on the shipping page, my first question was, "Did you enter a phone number?" Sure enough, he hadn't - and as soon as he entered it, he was able to continue placing the online order himself.

No doubt this glitch wouldn't stump folks if the tiny red star and tiny text weren't so.....TINY! But unfortunately they're part of the Yahoo store order form template, so we're stuck with their size (or lack thereof).

The moral of the story: If you're placing an online order at Carolina Sauce and can't seem to get past the shipping page, double-check to make sure you've entered a phone number for the shipping address. If you're still having problems, please don't hesitate to call us at 919-286-1080.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Yes, We're Open Now

With apologies for not yet having removed the notices on the Carolina Sauce Company home page or the various info and ordering pages on the Carolina Sauce online store, I hereby announce that yes, the Carolina Sauce Company is back open for business. All hands currently are being devoted to packing and shipping the orders that were received while we were closed last week, returning phone calls and emails, and re-stocking products that sold out or are very low in stock. And of course we're also processing new orders as they come in. Hopefully we'll be able to get the website and online store completely updated (and no longer showing the "closed" notices) sometime tomorrow evening (and maybe some of it tonight). I hope this clears up any confusion.... Many thanks to all of you who have been placing orders, and special thanks for your patience!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Labels for Anchor Bar Wing Sauce

Check out the snazzy new labels that the folks at Frank & Teresa's Famous Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, are rolling out for their award-winning Buffalo chicken wing sauces! The new look labels are already available on the Original Anchor Bar Wing Sauce, and the spicier Hotter Anchor Bar Wing Sauce. They've also updated their nutritional labeling to provide more complete ingredient info (for example, the old label didn't list out the ingredients in the margarine used in the sauce). The best news, however, is that they've kept the great, spicy flavor the same.

The Anchor Bar restaurant is the birthplace of the original Buffalo-style hot chicken wings, and these are the sauces that put that establishment on the map and launched the hot wings craze. So if you've never had the real deal and you enjoy spicy chicken wings, you've got to get yourself a bottle (or more) of Anchor Bar wing sauces. They come in three different heat levels (the Suicidal Wing Sauce still sports the old label), plus two "exotic" varieties, namely the sweet and tangy Honey BBQ Wing Sauce and the zippy Honey Mustard Wing Sauce. Both the old and new labels include instructions for making authentic Buffalo style chicken wings.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Low Sodium, No Sodium Hot Sauce & More!

By popular demand, the Carolina Sauce Company online store now has a section listing all of the no sodium, no salt, low sodium and low salt hot sauce, BBQ sauce, marinades, dressings, rubs & seasonings, snacks and other low sodium/no sodium products that we carry! In order to qualify for listing on the new Low Sodium/No Sodium Products page, a hot sauce or other product must have no more than 35 mg of sodium per serving. This is actually the generally accepted definition of Very Low Sodium (as opposed to merely Low Sodium, which generally means up to 140 mg of sodium per serving). We've chosen to go with the Very Low Sodium threshhold of no more than 35 mg of sodium per serving for two reasons. First, our customers have expressed interest in very low sodium and no sodium/no salt sauces and products. Second, because the typical serving size for hot sauce, BBQ sauce, condiments etc. is usually 1 teaspoon (or less) to 2 Tablespoons, sodium counts over 35 mg per serving struck us as a bit high to be considered "low sodium" in light of the relatively small serving size.

If you are on a low sodium diet or other sodium restricted or low salt diet and have been looking for a way to spice up your meals without blowing your diet, you can now find the perfect low sodium hot sauce, barbecue sauce, no salt dry rub and other low sodium and no sodium products in one easy place, for your shopping convenience: the new Low Sodium/No Sodium Products section at the Carolina Sauce Company!

Zestfully yours,

PS: The Carolina Sauce Company home page and other non-store pages will be updated next week with a "quick link" to the Low Sodium/No Sodium page.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Special Announcement on Independence Day

Many of the RVs and campsites where we're staying this week are bedecked with red, white & blue decorations and American flags, in celebration of Independence Day today. The enticing aromas of grilling burgers for lunch, and sizzling bacon, sausage & eggs from late campsite breakfasts, are wafting my way when the warm breeze blows. No doubt there will be lots of celebrating this Fourth of July, with special fun family events at the campground (funnel cakes, the annual "campers Olympics", a hayride, etc.). Later today, Greg and I plan on grilling some venison burgers with a steak sauce we're evaluating as a potential new product at Carolina Sauce Company, snacking on boiled peanuts (for those of you unfamiliar with boiled peanuts, it's a southern delicacy of sorts that should only ever be enjoyed fresh, never canned - and only made with raw peanuts, never roasted), tossed green salad with Mama T's Olive Oil Vinaigrette, grilled summer squash with butter and a sampling of sauces and seasonings under consideration, and farm-fresh, locally grown cantaloupe for dessert (I wanted watermelon, but couldn't find one small enough to fit in our RV fridge).

During this week while on my working vacation, I've spent some time thinking about our troops who are currently serving overseas, away from family and friends, placing their lives on the line in the service of our country and protecting our freedom. My brother in law, who has served 3 tours in Iraq, is one of the lucky ones, presently stationed in Germany with his family. As you may know if you've been reading my blog since its early days, he was my main inspiration for Operation Sauce Drop, the Carolina Sauce Company's nonprofit effort to send free BBQ sauce and hot sauce to deployed troops. Lately I've been quite disheartened at how donations have trickled down to almost nothing, while the list of troops signed up for a free box of sauce continues to grow. It breaks my heart that there are soldiers who have been on our waiting list for months, while Operation Sauce Drop has run out of money and is running in the red. This is a really tough economy for fundraising, but I haven't lost all hope. In fact, while out on my morning run earlier today, I had an idea to help ship out more gift boxes to our servicemen and women overseas. Admittedly this is a risky plan, especially in this economy, but I have faith that it just might work. Here goes:

Beginning today, Independence Day, and for as long as we can afford to do so, Carolina Sauce Company will MATCH ALL DONATIONS made to Operation Sauce Drop. When you donate $5, $20, $100 or even more, Carolina Sauce Company will donate the same amount, thereby doubling your generosity. The average cost for us to purchase and ship a gift box of sauce is about $20, and most folks tend to donate that amount. With this new matching program, your $20 donation will enable us to send gift boxes to TWO deployed troops, not just one. And if you can afford to give $100, the net result is that ten servicemen, not just five, will receive their requested gift boxes. And a $5 donation will now go twice as far, covering half of the cost of a gift box (so get a friend to also donate $5 and the end result is you'll fully fund a gift box because we will match both donations). If you have any doubts as to whether receiving some free hot sauce or barbecue sauce matters to our troops, I encourage you to see the photos and read the thank-you notes on our Operation Sauce Drop Feedback & Photos page.

Carolina Sauce Company is stepping up to the plate to help add some zesty flavors to our deployed service personnel's plates. We'll match ALL donations made to Operation Sauce Drop. Now it's up to you: Can you spare a little dough to help send a free gift box of sauce to a deployed soldier? If so, please donate to Operation Sauce Drop -- and feel free to include a note for us to send to the recipient soldier, if you'd like! I have faith that with your help we'll be able to fulfill the gift box requests from the over 90 troops on our waiting list, and then continue fulfilling future requests as they come in.

Here's wishing all my readers and Carolina Sauce Company customers and Operation Sauce Drop donors a zest-filled, happy & safe Independence Day. And if any of you are or were members of our Armed Forces, here's a heartfelt THANK YOU for your service.

Zestfully yours,

PS: I'll update the Operation Sauce Drop pages on the Carolina Sauce Company site to announce this matching program later today, assuming my wireless internet connection doesn't flake out again.

PPS: Please help spread the word about Operation Sauce Drop to anyone who you think would be interested in supporting this program: There are banner links posted earlier in this blog, or you're welcome to forward a text link, or forward any information that might help. And please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Best-Selling Hot Sauce, BBQ Sauce, etc. for June 2008

Despite occasional outtages with the wireless network at our campground, I was able to finish updating the Carolina Sauce Company best-seller lists for June 2008 in each of the specific product categories. There were some notable debuts and other interesting results in many of the categories, as highlighted below. Just click on the product category link to go straight to that best-seller list.

*Best Selling Hot Sauce: The ultra-hot Dave's Insanity Sauce made it onto the top ten list last month, probably because it's currently on sale and because it tends to be a popular Father's Day gift for Dads who are serious chileheads

*Best Selling Barbecue Sauce: The number one top-selling barbeque sauce for June was a North Carolina favorite, George's Original BBQ Sauce, which was also the overall best-selling product at the Carolina Sauce Company this past month

*Best Selling Marinades & Dressings: A brand-new product, Mama T's Olive Oil Vinaigrette, made a respectable debut at #5 (and I personally enjoy this vinaigrette dressing so much that I took a bottle camping with me, and have enjoyed it on salads and other veggies this week)

*Best Selling Rubs & Seasonings: All 3 flavors of Nando's Peri Peri Grinds made the list, no doubt because the manufacturer has discontinued these delicious spice blends and people are stocking up before they're gone for good

*Best Selling Salsa & Relish: Another new product (and personal favorite of mine), Mama T's Hot Pepper Relish, debuted at a very impressive #2 on this Top Ten list!

*Best Selling Jerk & Curry Products: All 3 of the delicious, certified organic Pluto's Jamaican Jerk Sauces (including Pluto's Paradise Potion, which isn't technically a jerk sauce but rather a Jamaican all-purpose sauce) made this Top Ten list

*Best Selling North Carolina Products: The sweet & spicy Bone Suckin' Mustard made its first appearance on this Top Ten list, placing at #9

*Best Selling Snacks: The addictively flavorful and spicy-hot Chipotle Seasoned Peanuts from The Peanut Roaster in North Carolina finished at #6 (I keep an open can of these Chipotle Peanuts -- and a bottle of water -- in our warehouse to keep me energized when I'm working late or too busy for lunch)

*Best Selling Mustards: Yet another new June product, the zestily-spiced and aptly-named Durn Good Hot 'n Spicy Mustard had a Top Ten finish, at a notable #4 -- and it's on sale, too!

*Best Selling Wing Sauce: I suspect lots of Dads love Buffalo hot wings enough to receive wing sauces as Father's Day gifts, because our Hot Wings Gift Set did quite well and finished 3rd on this list, behind two flavors of Anchor Bar Wing Sauce

*Best Selling Gift Sets: Speaking of Father's Day and gift sets, the competition was fierce to get on this Top Ten list last month and one of our signature gift sets, the NC Hot & Spicy Gift Set, made the list at #7

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

June's Top Ten Best Selling Sauces

Summer is definitely here, which means people are firing up their grills and enjoying their barbecue sauce, so much so that the top three best-selling products at the Carolina Sauce Company online store in June were all BBQ sauces. Here's the complete list of the top ten best sellers for last month:

1. George's Original BBQ Sauce, made in eastern NC and recently recognized as "Best in the Carolinas" by Every Day With Rachael Ray magazine

2. Carolina Swamp Sauce, a Caribbean-inspired gourmet grilling sauce from North Carolina, recently featured in Better Homes & Garden magazine as an ideal BBQ sauce for shrimp

3. Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce, an authentic vinegar-based eastern NC barbecue sauce (no tomatoes and plenty of tangy, spicy flavor) that's perfect for pulled pork BBQ

4. Busha Browne's Pukka Pepper Sauce, made in Jamaica and perhaps the most popular spicy table sauce ever

5. Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, an intensely flavorful and hot Jamaican jerk paste made in Jamaica using traditional ingredients -- and it's currently on sale!

6. Capsicana Zing Sauce, a spicy, slightly sweet all-purpose pepper sauce that's great on just about anything, and adds zippy flavor to your favorite recipes

7. Buderim Ginger Bears, a grown-up gummy candy from Autralia made with real ginger for a not-too-sweet, pleasantly zingy bite

8. Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce, made in Trinidad & Tobago using aged scotch bonnet peppers and tropical papaya in a rich, thick mustard base

9. Matouk's Calypso Hot Sauce, another authentic West Indian hot sauce made with scotch bonnet peppers in a spicy, slightly sweet mustard base

10. Nando's Roasted Reds Cooking & Grilling Sauce, a flavorful, mildly spicy all purpose cooking sauce from South Africa featuring roasted sweet red peppers, tomatoes and peri-peri peppers

Once I'm back in the office on my "real" computer, I'll post this list on the Carolina Sauce Company home page. In the meantime, I'll work on getting the product category best-seller lists (i.e., best-selling hot sauces, best-selling BBQ sauces etc.) updated on the online store, which I can do from my little laptop by the lake, and will post here when they're available.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Low Carb Hot Sauce, BBQ Sauce & More!

I know, I know, Carolina Sauce Company is closed this week so that our employees can take vacation, and here I am working away.... but I am working at a lakeside picnic table outside my RV in blissfully cool summer weather, while Greg stokes the coals for tonight's grill-fest at which we'll be sampling potential new products... So far we've sampled some addictively good giardiniera (I hope I spelled that correctly!), a Caribbean steak sauce that was lip-smacking good, and a spicy North Carolina mustard that we stumbled into at a restaurant & market in a little town about 1 1/2 hrs from where we're camping -- which means we'll hopefully have some more wonderful new products up on our site in the next few months! In sum, I don't mind working on my vacation when my job is so much fun! (But I do have to run at least 3 miles a day even on vacation to try to burn off all the delicious calories I'm injesting.)

OK, I've digressed long enough. The original purpose of this post was to announce our New & Improved Low Carb Products page! I've personally gone through all of our product data on our online store and identified all products that have one carb per serving or less (including no carb or zero carb sauces, of course), and all of those products are now listed on our Low Carb page. So if you are looking for low carb or no carb hot sauce, BBQ sauce, marinades, wing sauce, rubs & seasonings, Jamaican jerks, snacks (like pork rinds and pork skins) with no carbs or not more than 1 carb per serving, you can now conveniently find them on one Low Carb Products page in alphabetical order at the Carolina Sauce Company online store!

Tomorrow I'll attempt to compile the best-selling products for June 2008 -- but I'm not promising to finish tomorrow, since, after all, I'm supposedly on vacation and I'm also seeking out potential new products....

Zestfully yours,